Home Interviews How to Protect, Maintain and Care for Your Leather

How to Protect, Maintain and Care for Your Leather

Mandee Widrick | January 30, 2012

Arielle O’Shea from Leather Honey (@leatherhoney) joined us on #HorseChat this past week. Our topic was “How to Protect, Maintain and Care for Your Leather” where we learned a LOT of great leather care tips! Below is an easy-to-read summary of our Twitter interview with Arielle, along with some questions from the chat participants that we felt were blog-worthy:

Q) Lets say you’ve just bought a new leather tack item. What is the best way to soften and condition the leather for use?

A) Test anything you apply in small spot first. Then apply in thin, even coat, let it soak in overnight. Re-apply if needed. If it doesn’t soak in, the leather may have a factory-applied sealer. Break it in on a few rides, then try again.

Q) Will a factory applied sealer wear off after a few rides?

A)  It will start to break down as you use, yes.

Q) How often should tack items be cleaned and conditioned? Is age of leather a factor?

A) It’s an as-needed thing, depending on leather, frequency of use & environment. If it’s chalky or cracking, time to condition. And if it gets wet, condition again b/c oils were washed out. Let it dry first – otherwise you lock in moisture. Mildew! By the way, if you have problem with mildew, our tried & true natural fix: Clean with 1/4 part apple cider vinegar to 3/4 part water.

Q) What are some “no-no’s” when it comes to storing leather tack?

A) Avoid dry conditions – you’ll have to condition more frequently. Saddles on saddle stand & hang harness. Cover to keep clean. Condition before you store. Leather Honey won’t evaporate, so it will stay in leather unless it gets saturated by water.

Q) Is it bad for leather tack to be stored in freezing temperatures? 

A) No – other than fact that it’s typically dryer when it’s cold. Condition when it comes out OR goes into storage.

Q) If leather is already cracking, will oiling it till it’s soaked keep it from getting worse?


A) Don’t over-saturate! Never until soaked, just thin, even coats. That will keep it from getting worse.

Q) Is it possible to restore old dried and cracked leather? 

A) Leather Honey will restore moisture, make it supple & revitalize. Hides cracks – unfortunately you can’t “fix” deep cracking.

Q) At what point would you consider leather tack “unsafe” to use?

A) If it’s worn thin around the buckles, you need to replace straps. Leather Honey won’t make it stronger – just lubricates fibers & adds flexibility.

Q) Is it necessary to wash leather before conditioning?

A)  If it’s dirty or mildewed, definitely. If not, could always wipe down with damp cloth just in case.

Q) What other items do you use leather conditioner on (beyond tack items)?

A) Anything leather (except suede)! Jackets, boots, dog leash, baseball gloves, car seats, handbags, motorcycle bags, furniture…

Q) What kind of results do look for in a leather conditioner? 

A) I like it to really penetrate, not float on the surface – otherwise you think it’s working but it’s not. Also want something like Leather Honey that doesn’t evaporate, that promotes flexibility and hides imperfections. And I want no odor!

To learn more about our weekly #HorseChat on Twitter, click here. Also be sure to check out Leather Honey on Facebook for 10% off your first order and let them know you heard about them from Horse Family!


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